Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro

Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Produced by Yutaka Fujioka & Tetsuo Katayama/Directed by Hayao Miyazaki/Written by Hayao Miyazaki & Haruya Yamazaki/Music by Yuji Ohno/Based on the Manga by Monkey Punch

If there’s danger, mayhem, and questionable motives, Lupin is bound to be in the middle of the fray. Naturally, when he encounters a fortune–in counterfeit bills–he’s determined to get to the root of their origins. When he traces them to the small country of Cagliostro’s current ruler, he’s determined to break in and cause as much chaos as possible–and when he finds that the beautiful princess of the country is being held against her will, well, that seals the deal for sure. Lupin and his comrades descend upon the castle, wrecking havoc and confusion as they go . . . and even more madness when Lupin’s old nemesis, the leader of the Japanese police, shows up with his troops!

The Castle of Cagliostro is a grand old adventure–more romp than anything else, to be honest. In a lot of ways, it makes me think of an old European action movie (or an extended episode of Scooby Doo) more than of a Japanese anime. I think my brother puts it best: “I love how it’s so Miyazaki and yet not at all!” That’s truly my experience of the story. It’s a grand romantic adventure in the best sense, with plenty of action and plot twists, but really, you can’t take it seriously at all. There’s just too much that’s comedic–or incredible and absurd–and I think it’s meant to be that way. The art is really old-school, which works beautifully with the story in a super-retro kind of way. Basically, this movie is just meant to be a lot of fun, and it excels at that. Do be warned that there’s probably more language than would be appropriate for most kids. For teen/adult audiences who are in the mood for something off the wall and fun though, The Castle of Cagliostro is a great choice.

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